Intel Itanium IA-64 Support To Be Deprecated By GCC 10, Planned Removal In GCC 11

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 13 June 2019 at 03:15 PM EDT. 47 Comments
Intel announced at the start of the year their newest Itanium 9700 "Kittson" processors from 2017 would be discontinued with no planned successor for the IA-64 line-up. Given the IA-64 compiler support is already in rough shape for GCC, the GNU developers are planning to deprecate the support for the current GCC 10 cycle and to remove it entirely for GCC 11.

It's looking like the GCC compiler toolchain support won't live much beyond next year, which is also when Intel will honor the last orders for the IA-64 9700 series processors. GCC 10 will debut around the start of Q2'2020 while GCC 11 with the IA-64 support likely removed would be out in Q2'2021 given their normal release cadence.

Considering the GCC compiler is used to compile the Linux kernel and IA-64 doesn't enjoy coverage from other compilers like Clang able to build the Linux kernel, it will effectively mean the end of the road for new Linux support moving forward. Granted, Itanium hardware will continue to work with existing compiler releases but considering that most IA-64 code is already beginning to suffer from bit-rot, it's beginning time for customers to consider other architecture options for those that have held out with Itanium systems.

So far all the upstream comments around the GNU Compiler Collection are in favor of deprecating the IA-64 code. Following the deprecation, there's still the possibility of the port being revived if a new code maintainer were to step up, but at this point it seems unlikely.
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